What is Climate? | Types, Definition, Structure, Function & Facts

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What is Climate?

Climate is the average measurements of temperature, wind, humidity, snow, and rain in a place over the course of years. Climate is like the weather, but over a long time. Climate is the long-term weather patterns in an area, it is the average and variability of weather variables over a period from a few months to millions of years. Some of the commonly measured weather variables are temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind, and precipitation.

In a broader sense, climate is the state of the components of the climate system, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, and the interactions between them. The climate of a place is influenced by latitude, longitude, topography, altitude, land use, neighboring waters, and their flows.

Climate v/s. Weather

Climate is different from weather. Weather is a change in the atmosphere that occurs on a daily basis. The weather we experience today may be completely different from the weather we will have tomorrow.

Climate is a weather pattern that occurs over a long period of time, such as years and centuries. For example, the climate of an area may be arid because it rarely rains. However, on rainy days, the weather will rain for that day. The climate does not change, it is always a dry climate.

Types of Climate

Scientists use many ways to describe different climates. One way is to divide climates into five categories: tropical, dry, temperate, cold, and polar. There are also important subcategories that include rainforest, desert, tundra, savanna, and savanna.

Why is Climate Important?

Climate can determine many things, but most importantly it determines the type of plants and animals that can live in an area. For example, polar bears need cold climates. They will be terribly hot and die quickly in the desert. As the climate begins to change, animals and plants are threatened.

Climate Change

Climate can change over long periods of time. Sometimes it’s just the earth’s cycle, but sometimes outside forces can have a big impact on the climate. Humans have made an impact by building big cities and cutting down vegetation in places like the rainforest. This has had an impact on the local climate. Other major events that can affect climate include volcanic eruptions and changes in the sun.

Ice Age

Throughout Earth’s history, there have been times when the Earth’s climate has cooled considerably. During these periods, the ice sheet or glacier that covered the Arctic expanded to cover much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Interesting Facts about Climate

Since the sun shines directly on the land and oceans around the equator, this area is usually the hottest area on earth.

The winds often follow the same direction at certain locations over the oceans. They go by names like northeast trade winds and westerly winds. These winds were important for the climate and were also important for ancient sailing ships that needed wind power to move.

The wettest place on earth is Mawsynram, Assam, India, which receives 467 inches of rainfall annually.

The driest place is the Atacama Desert in Chile, which receives almost no measurable annual rainfall.

The hottest place on Earth is the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia with an average temperature of 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit).

The coldest place is Plateau Station, Antarctica, where the average temperature is -56.7 degrees Celsius (-70.1 degrees Fahrenheit).